My musings…

Archive for August, 2008

Loud music in the Metro

So this has been bothering me since before someone sent in the first editorial to the Express (a shortened down version of the Washington Post which is extremely convenient – and free – to read on the commute to work every day). 
First Letter - 11 August 2008
First Letter

Latest Letter

Latest Letter - 20 August 2008

Last week, someone sent in the first editorial to the Express complaining about some riders play their mp3s or CDs or Walkmans (yes, apparently they do still exist) way too loudly on the Metro trains.  Since then, there have been several response letters, each one a little angrier than the previous and for both sides of the argument.  So here are my 2 cents.

As someone who has a two+ hour commute to and from work every day, I definitely miss my mp3 player on the days that I forget it or when it’s not completely charged.  However, there should be limits on an acceptable volume.  First, there is a sign in every car that says you can’t play a radio without headphones.  This applies to your telephone as well.  There is no reason that I should be forced to listen to whatever music you decide to like.  And it’s not just the speakers on phones, either.  Two weeks ago, on a ride home from work, I was seated along the windows and I could hear the music of the girl sitting across the aisle from me (also by the windows).  That’s not even the worst of it, though.  A day or two later, I was sitting in the third row of seats back from the front of the car.  There was a guy listening to his headphones standing near the door (a distance of 12 feet, probably).  I could hear his music even more clearly.  In fact, if I listened to whatever genre of music it was, I could have sang along with it.  There are also times when I am listening to my music (at a reasonable volume) and I can hear the music of other metro riders over the volume of my music.  Unreasonable?  Yes. I wish I were able to approach these people and ask them kindly to turn down their music, but I’m worried that he/she will have a reaction similar to that of Ms. Blue’s (see above). (P.S. Ms. Blue – music may be your coffee to get you going in the morning, but coffee drinkers don’t force you to take a sip of their coffee now, do they?).

Secondly, does anyone realize the health risks associated with headphone use?  According to this article from 2007 and this page (updated regularly), “Loud and excessive noise directly in contact with the ear damages the hair cells in the inner ear causing permanent hearing loss.”  Another possible health risk is the growth of tumors (published in the Journal of Epidemiology).  “The European Heart Journal published a study showing that high levels of noise increases a person’s chances of having a heart attack.”  “High blood pressure is also linked to loud and excessive noise.”  “Experts recommend that if you are going to use headphones that you do not exceed 60 percent of the potential volume. Anything more than 60 percent and in excessive of one hour a day is considered excessive and recommended against by experts.”

This article recommends that one buy noise-cancelling earphones.  This earphones will block out background noise, allowing you to listen to your music at a much lower volume without disturbing those around you.  iPods also have a volume limit option.  I reduced the maximum volume of my iPod to about 85% of the normal maximum, but I still don’t even listen to it that loudly when I use my headphones.

Remember – headphones are a fairly new phenomenon and we don’t know what long term effects of headphone use at loud volumes will be, but better safe than sorry.  I don’t want to be one of those old folks in the back of the church not knowing what’s going on.  So be kind to your ears and those around you and turn the volume down!


The Simple Woman’s Daybook – August 19

Found this on a friend’s blog and thought it’d be interesting to try…

For Today…August 19

Outside my Window… the red bricks of Dean and Deluca’s…that’s all I can see from my desk here at work.

I am thinking… too many thoughts at once to come up with a coherent sentence.

I am thankful for… All of my family, but one person in particular.  Shout out to heaven, Uncle Jim, thank you sooo much. 

From the kitchen… last night I made a huge stir fry for dinner for Elvis and I.  Not sure what tonight will bring.

I am wearing… dark brown capris and a light purple polo shirt.

I am reading… nothing.  I don’t really have time to read.

I am hoping… that everything will work out.

I am hearing… cars and trucks moving up and down the alley and the road as people head to work.

Around the house… gotta get some laundry done.

One of my favorite things… seeing the sun rise over the lake on my way to work in the morning.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… work until Thursday then going home for Grange Fair!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you… our tent at the Fair…home, sweet home.

Daaaa dum da dum dum dum dum

So if you don’t recognize it, that’s the Olympic song…haha.  Try to sing along with it…you’ll like it, I promise.

Since Elvis worked all weekend, I resigned myself to a somewhat more sedentary lifestyle.  Luckily for me, the Olypics started on Friday, so I had something in which to engross myself.  The opening ceremony on Friday was absolutely incredible! The music, fireworks, dancing – wow!  And how the guy “ran” around the stadium in the air to light the torch – so very cool.

Favorite competitions thus far:

Team handball.  Dude.  Why did I never know this sport existed???  It’s awesome.  Like soccer and basketball mixed together.  I should SO find a team.  I could play in the Olympics in 4 years time.  The average age for these competitors seemed to be 30-something, so I even have the possibility for 2 or 3 Olympic competitions before retirement.

Badmiton.  Reminds me of when Beth Leigey and I won the Golden Shuttlecock in high school.  Except these guys are WAY better than we were.

Gymnastics.  Because it’s amazing what these people can do with their bodies.

I was thinking about saying swimming.  But it’s not even a competition because Michael Phelps is soooo good.  But I like watching Michael Phelps kick butt in the water.


In other news, I’ve started to experiment while cooking.  Successes so far: a chicken/veggie lasagna which turned out delicious (Elvis says he likes it better than regular lasagna) and chicken burgers (Elvis says we’re never going to McDonald’s again…even though the last time was probably before I moved down here!).  Next thing on the menu: zucchini pasta…

He’s not bad at basketball for a soccer player

Surprise, surprise!  One interesting thing about living with someone is no matter how well you think you know someone, there’s always something else to learn.

Monday, for example, I found out that Elvis is actually really good at basketball…who would have thought?  He found a basketball somewhere, so we headed out to the court behind our house.  Much to my surprise, he is actually a really good bball player.  While I beat him at Around the World and Pig (well, we played “coche”) he beat me (though not by much) at 21.  He said they used to have county-wide sports tournaments in Guatemala, so when their soccer team got eliminated, he would switch to basketball to avoid going home (and back to school!).  It was fun, though, and now we have something to do on days they don’t play soccer.

(Yesterday he scored a sweet goal at soccer practice…he claims he’s going to actually play on the team next year, but I highly doubt it.  He’s a really good player, he’s just really lazy, too! Haha! :-))

P.S. Pictures from the birthday party are available here:

Another AMAZING Weekend.

So yes, just another amazing weekend in College Park.  Friday afternoon I rushed out of work and went to pick up Jenna at the airport.  On the metro, I met a very interesting character.  He was dressed in a Jamaican-style hat with dreads.  At one point in time, he pulled out his glasses to try to figure out how much money he had left on his metro pass.  When I looked up, I realized that they weren’t actual glasses, but they were, in fact, those plastic glasses with the fake nose and mustache haha! 🙂  Afterwards, he realized that he couldn’t read the ticket, so he pulled out another pair of glasses.  These, however, did not have lenses in them, either!  I tried my best to continue listening to my iPod, doing my Sudoku and ignoring the guy, but it was impossible.  As we neared Regan airport, he looked out the window, turned to me and commented on how beautiful the view was.  I looked out the window…the view consisted of a crane and high rises…the sun was hitting them in an interesting fashion, so it almost looked pretty, but not quite.  Then, as the metro pulled into the stop, he said “This is Regan airport, you know who Regan was?  He was a president.”  “Yep,” I said, hoping that he would just leave me alone as he noticed I was getting off at the stop, but Lady Luck was not on my side.  “Was he a good president?” he asked.  “Yep,” I said, “otherwise they wouldn’t have named an airport after him, would they?”  “I guess so, I guess so. Well, you have fun.  I’ll see you yesterday.”  Haha.  “I’ll see you yesterday?” I laughed to myself as I walked out of the airport, a little relieved to be away from the guy, but with a smile on my face from the random encounter and the chance to laugh a little after a somewhat stressful week at work last week.

I made my way into the airport and arrived at the gate just about the same time Jenna walked out.  Hopped back on the metro, made it to the house, went to the store to pick up a few things, made icing for the cakes I baked the night before, made dinner, went to pick up Elvis’s cousins (again) and settled in for a long winter’s nap.  I wish.  Actually, we spent the night playing cards and Luisa, dancing in the living room and relaxing.  Jacki came around 11 or so and I think that we went to bed around 3 am. 

Saturday morning we went to see the team from Canilla play another soccer game.  They were playing in a tournament (not the league).  The winner of the tournament is going to play against Chivas (a team from Mexico) next Sunday.  Canilla played okay, I guess.  They ended up tying and then going into penalty kicks which they won (miraculously because our goalies suck).  We went home and got things ready for the party, but the team played their second game in the afternoon and lost, so they won’t be playing next week, but we’ll probably go anyway. 

Elvis and I prepared 20 pounds of pork, macaroni salad, beans, tortillas, cakes and sodas to celebrate both of our birthdays (mine was last Sunday and his is this Thursday).  Jenna, Jacki, Julia, Rene, Marlon, Dennis, Otto, Milo, Nefta, Mainor, Chicha, Dency, Magdiel and Julian all came over to the house and ate, threw frisbee, kicked the soccer ball around, etc.  At one point it started to sprinkle, so we started to carry the things into the house.  As I was walking down the steps, a lightning bolt struck a tree in the park behind the house!  You know how you can count the seconds between a lightning bolt and thunder to see how far away a storm is???  They hit at the same time!!! It was kinda scary!  There’s a burn mark on the tree and the people who were outside could smell smoke!!!  Everyone came inside and we taught a bunch of people how to play spoons which was really cool.  They all really enjoyed it. (Except Chicha who didn’t understand!)  They all stayed until about 10 at which time Milo, Gerson, and Nefta came back.  (Those three along with Otto are Elvis’s cousins.)  They stayed until about 2 in the morning.

Yesterday we took Jenna to a Guatemalan restaurant for breakfast/lunch and then to the bus station so she could get back home.  After she was safely on her way, Elvis and I started to go back to the house when Chicha called and invited us to go to the beach.  We went back to the house, grabbed our swimming suits and towels and headed to Sandy Point for the sixth (I think) time this summer.  It was fun.  The water was really warm and the weather perfect – 80* and sunny.  We swam for a bit, tried to teach Chicha to throw a frisbee and watched the fisherman pull about 20 fish out of the water in 20 minutes.  It was a pretty relaxing afternoon.  After we ate dinner, Elvis started to watch a program about one of his favorite artists – Vincente Fernandez – and I fell asleep on the couch around 9:30.  We went to bed at 10 and I still didn’t want to get out of bed when the alarm went off at 6:15 this morning.  I managed to make it to work, though, and am settling in for another exciting week…maybe I’ll update again later this week.